MIGUEL ORTIZ BERROCAL
BORN: Villanueva de Algaidas - 1933
Lives and works in Negrar
ABOUT THE ARTIST
In the second half of the twentieth century Miguel Ortiz Berrocal undoubtedly stands out as one of the most interesting artistic personalities as well as one of the most important sculptors. He found his theme, the human figure and in particular the human torso during the 1960's which has practically remained his sole interest since then. He was able to develop an individual and unmistakable style by using a method of constructing his works out of disassembled separate parts.
Miguel Ortiz Berrocal was born in 1933 near Malaga in Villanueva de Algaidas; the same area that Picasso originated from. He studied chemistry, mathematics and architecture in Madrid as well as becoming Angel Ferrant's student. Angel Ferrant taught bronze sculpture and introduced Miguel Berrocal to the principles of design in non-figurative art. He also studied painting in various Madrid art-schools. Between 1964 and 1966 Miguel Berrocal stayed alternatively in Paris, Verona and Hamburg where he taught at the Academy of Fine Art. In 1966 he settled in Negrar close to Verona in the Villa Rizzardi, an 18th century building, where he still lives and works. There he produces all his sculptures in his own foundry. The first sculptures that evolved in the mid-fifties were forged iron sculptures which are characterized by open, spacious, dynamic and expressive structures. Their formal appearance is comparable with contemporary, gestural informal painting.
At the beginning of the 1930’s both artists Julio Gonzalez and Pablo Picasso were the first to use iron and junk in congenial collaboration as material for sculptures, thereby creating works that involved space as an important formal element within the artistic work process, making this one of the main considerations in contemporary sculpture.
They began a tradition which is still effective today. By the 1950's, the Bask sculptor, Eduardo Chillida, continuing in this tradition, created his first "space-diagrams" obviously influencing Miguel Berrocal's early iron sculptures as well as influencing many other of his contemporaries. Both artists follow the same formal aims in their use of expressive gestures, their open, space-filling and embracing graphic structures. Berrocal says about his work that "from the beginning I have been interested in space as a negative volume. Is not empty space real? Why should we talk about forms without being interested in the empty spaces between them?"
This quote describes a central aspect of his creative work which is just as valid for his new corporeal-closed works as for the earlier open space-diagrams. Miguel Berrocal believes a sculpture's hidden interior has the same formal importance as its exterior.